Saturday, 10 May 2014


Islanded: Britain, Sri Lanka and the Bounds of the Indian Ocean Colony by Sujit Sivasundaram from Oxford University Press (India).

How did the British come to conquer South Asia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries? Answers to this question usually start in northern India, neglecting the dramatic events that marked Britains contemporaneous taking of the island of Sri Lanka. In Islanded, Sujit Sivasundaram reconsiders the arrival of British rule in South Asia as a dynamic and unfinished process of territorialization and state building, revealing that the British colonial project was framed by Sri Lankas traditions and maritime placement and built in part on the model they provided.

Using palm-leaf manuscripts alongside the colonial archive, Sivasundaram tells the story of two sets of islanders in combat and collaboration. He explores how the British organized the process of "islanding" and "partitioning": they aimed to create a separable unit of colonial governance and trade in keeping with conceptions of ethnology, culture, and geography. The advent of British rule in South Asia was thus a critical point in the fragmentation of the mainland from the island.

But rather than serving as a radical rupture, he reveals, how the colonists recycled and constantly redefined traditions that they learned from Kandy, a kingdom in the Sri Lankan highlands whose customs-from strategies of war to views of nature-fascinated them. Picking up a range of unusual themes, from migration, orientalism, and ethnography to botany, medicine, and education, Islanded is an engaging retelling of the advent of British rule and a theory of colonial impact that speaks to other places that have been lost from dominant histories.

In our History section, Rs. 895, in hardback, 384 pages, ISBN: 9780198096245
Sales Restriction: Sale In SAARC Countries Only

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